By Johnny Carey, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Amid the sunshine and fancy dinners of the NFL owners’ meetings, a pesky journalist just had to go and ruin the billionaires’ fun by inquiring about concussions in football.
When prompted about the concussion issue, Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones uttered a statement that you’d only hear from an NFL owner (or commissioner).
Jones (sadly) predictably asserted, “It’s absurd [to] say there’s a relationship [between] CTE and playing football.”
Here we go again.
Jones then went on to clarify his reasoning by noting, “There’s no data that in any way creates a knowledge.”
“And in this particular case, we all know how medicine is,” continued Jones. “Medicine is evolving. I grew up being told that aspirin was not good. I’m told that one a day is good for you.”
Uh … OK?
Aspirin wasn’t good, now it is good, so therefore science is flawed, and the sample size for concussions and football just isn’t big enough. Got it? Got it.
This standard NFL assertion that there isn’t a big enough sample size to verify a connection between football and concussions is old and tired.
Even if the league’s entire argument is that there isn’t a big enough sample size to fully prove the connection between football and concussions, it makes zero sense to completely disregard a “smaller” sample size that has produced a connection as “absurd.”
But don’t worry, that wasn’t all the week has had in store for our good friend, Jerry.
Following his statements on Tuesday, the New York Times published an article exposing the NFL’s deceitful concussion research, which didn’t exactly make Jones look wonderful.
According to the New York Times’ findings, Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys reported a grand total of zero concussions between 1996 and 2001, during a time in which the NFL had formed a committee to seemingly downplay the connection between concussions and the NFL.
Zero concussions over six years! How bout them Cowboys?
Well, zero, as long as you don’t count the four times Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman was listed on NFL injury reports for head injuries.
That settles it; Jerry Jones was right after all. Or at the very least, there’s undeniably no connection between Dallas Cowboys football and concussions.
Statements like those made by Jones only do more to discredit a league that has lost considerable trust from its fan base and players over the past few years. It’s not surprising by any means at this point, and while there likely will be another controversial comment about concussions by the time I’m done writing this, it’s nonetheless disappointing.
We get it: You’re in the money-making business, and in order for you to make the most money possible, it would be preferable if people didn’t associate a violent contact sport played by huge men wearing helmets with debilitating brain trauma.
That, Jerry and the NFL, is absurd.
Johnny Carey is a senior at Boston College. You can find him on Twitter @JohnnyHeights.